(Tuesday, 17th May 2011)
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Although economically advanced in the Middle Ages, the Middle East subsequently slipped into a state of underdevelopment. This lecture will provide a critical overview of research aimed at resolving the puzzle, with an emphasis on identifying the causes of differences in the performance of civilizations over long time periods.
Timur Kuran, "The Scale of Entrepreneurship in Middle Eastern History: Inhibitive Roles of Islamic Institutions," in The Invention of Entreprise: Entrepreneurship from Ancient Mesopotamia to Modern Times, ed. William Baumol, David Landes, and Joel Mokyr (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010), pp. 62-89.
Timur Kuran, "Why the Middle East is Economically Underdeveloped: Historical Mechanisms of Institutional Stagnation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 18 (2004): 71-90.
For a fuller background:
Timur Kuran, The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011).